GAME NOTES: The Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii play their first true road game of 2013-14, as they challenge the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in non-conference action at the Walkup Skydome.
Hawaii, which played Missouri in Kansas City in the middle of November, has been out in the South Pacific for the other six games on the calendar to this point. The team most recently clashed with Montana eight days ago and came up with a 72-61 victory, the third win in as many games for the program.
Playing just their second home game of the season, the 'Jacks are hoping to put an end to yet another three-game slide when they hit the floor this evening. The team battled Fresno State last Sunday at the Save Mart Center and came up short in overtime, 71-67.
These teams met last season as part of the BracketBuster event, with the Rainbow Warriors claiming an 84-50 win in Honolulu, the first and only meeting between the programs.
The Rainbow Warriors shot a dreadful 3-of-10 at the free-throw line in the first half against Montana, 13-of-28 for the entire game, but still the hosts played well enough to capture the double-digit win. Christian Standhardinger stepped up his efforts with 26 points and seven rebounds, both of which were game highs, while Brandon Spearman and Isaac Fotu tacked on 13 points apiece for a group that held the Grizzlies to just 35.7 percent from the field and 5- of-27 out on the perimeter.
Standhardinger, who is shooting 52.7 percent from the field and is second on the glass with 7.9 rpg, paces the program with his 18.4 ppg, followed by Fotu with his 13.3 ppg as he too shoots the ball well at a 53.1 percent clip. Fotu, the leader in rebounding with eight per game, has combined with Standhardinger to register 15 blocked shots, but at the same time they've also shot just 3- of-18 beyond the arc.
The Lumberjacks got the game against Fresno State into overtime the last time out, but in the end NAU could not overcome a disappointing 4-of-18 (.222) shooting behind the 3-point line and 13-of-22 at the free-throw line. It also didn't help that Northern Arizona collected just six points from the reserves. Max Jacobsen tallied a team-best 21 points, Quinton Upshur added 11, followed by Jordyn Martin and Gaellan Bewernick with 10 points apiece and a combined 19 rebounds.
Shooting almost as well from the field (.609) as he is at the free-throw line (.633) after eight games, Jacobsen leads the Lumberjacks in scoring with 16.4 ppg. Upshur is also high on the list with his 14.8 ppg, but he has knocked down just 36.5 percent from the field and 27.8 percent beyond the arc. Add to that the fact that he and Jacobsen have combined for 38 turnovers and just 18 assists and perhaps having the ball in their hands isn't always the best idea for NAU.
Hawaii is notorious for playing poorly on the mainland, but as long as the team can hit the glass and refrain from getting key figures into foul trouble then the Rainbow Warriors have a great shot at coming out on top.
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